Interview with Matt F.X. (Part One)

Effy Skins

His name is Matthew F.X. Feldman.  He’s the Music Supervisor for the MTV show Skins.  And he’s only 19!  (Well he was 18 when we started this interview a few days ago – so wish him a happy birthday.)  The native New Yorker lives and breathes music.  And today he suggests you check out James Blake.  Right now, in addition to his Skins gig, he’s working as the New York representative for Ruby Pseudo, a London-based Youth Consultancy that works with companies like Converse and Nokia to better understand youth today.  So here we go – interview, part 1 (because this kid has a lot to say, and we liked listening…)

James Blake – I’ll Stay

James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream

How’d you fall into this gig?  Were the producers looking for a music supervisor in the same age range as the characters on the show?
I fell into this gig through a friend who brought me into the teen writer’s group; I just kept asking about music until Bryan Elsley asked me to make him a mix. He’s always had a young music supervisor in the UK show (Two 19 year olds have so far been involved, Alex Hancock for the first two seasons and Kyle Lynd since.)

You kicked off the series with Animal Collective.  What was the thinking behind that?
That song was actually chosen by Kyle! Before I had started there was a short pilot presentation that he had chosen the music for which included that opening. I totally understand and approve, though; opening a show like ours with a band that’s become synonymous in many ways with new-school  music ideology and indie greatness was a fantastic idea.

Any epiphany moments so far matching a song to a story line / scene?
Oof. There’ve been quite a few moments throughout working on the season where we’ve figured out a perfect cue and it’s just completely made my day. An example coming up for next week’s episode would be the song that’s playing when Cadie gets to Michelle’s party; also the music at the end. There’s so much to consider, but since so much “indie” music these days has so many layers and elements there are times when you only consider a certain aspect and then find that the rest of the song matches with the rest of what’s going on in the scene.

Do you have songs in mind now that you KNOW you have to use (without having seen anything to put them to)?
I’d really, really love to get “Expensive Tastes” by the Cold War Kids into the show. It’s one of their older songs that appeared on one of the eps before their first album. People don’t know it, but they really should.

Has all the hype and controversy surrounding the show effected your day to day life?  (You are killing it with the ladies, your parents are pissed, etc.)
Ha! I wish I was killing it with the ladies. To be honest, I’ve kind of been to busy to think about it! I have a traditional Chinese mother who at first was quite displeased when the trailers started rolling out; since watching the show she’s come around though. I think she’s actually learning a lot about me and U.S. youth culture in the process.

Is your age a problem when it comes to seeing live shows?  How old were you when you snuck into your first show?
My first concert was maroon 5 and the donnas, which was all ages. Shut up! I was in 6th grade, and I bought the tickets way below face value myself on Craigslist. A lot of the smaller bands I see in the DIY scene have firm All-Ages beliefs, and the bigger bands that come through town usually have an 18+ date besides from the somewhat obligatory 21+ Mercury Lounge show. It’s going to be a fun night the first time I get into that place.

Other than GETTING this job, what’s been the most exciting part of the process so far?
Seeing episodes air. It’s crazy- my friends can’t decide if they’re annoyed that they’ve already heard most of this before (and don’t have a new place to get music) or if they’re excited that they’re seeing and hearing what we’ve all been listening to for months. Every week it’s insane, and I still think there’s more to “hit me.”

More tomorrow…